The Waking Land
Lady Elanna Valtai is fiercely devoted to the King who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder and must flee for her life. Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition powers that suddenly stir within her. But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.

The Waking Land Details

TitleThe Waking Land
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 27th, 2017
PublisherDel Rey Books
ISBN0425284026
ISBN-139780425284025
Number of pages400 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult

The Waking Land Review

  • Robin Hobb
    May 26, 2017
    My resolve to avoid spoilers almost falters in the face of a book well worth talking about! Let's see. What can I say? Buy this book when it comes out. Read it, but write your name big in the front, because when you loan it out, it may not come back.Also, I think this is the first time I've read a fantasy book that looks at Stockholm syndrome so well. Yes, GRRM does it in A Song of Ice and Fire with Theon Greyjoy. But I think that how Bates looks at it through her protagonist and the protagonist My resolve to avoid spoilers almost falters in the face of a book well worth talking about! Let's see. What can I say? Buy this book when it comes out. Read it, but write your name big in the front, because when you loan it out, it may not come back.Also, I think this is the first time I've read a fantasy book that looks at Stockholm syndrome so well. Yes, GRRM does it in A Song of Ice and Fire with Theon Greyjoy. But I think that how Bates looks at it through her protagonist and the protagonist's slow awakening from it is well worth a mention.Must I say that there are strong female characters with agency? Oh if you insist. There are strong male characters with agency, too.I like that 'minor' characters are glimpsed as doing things, and then those things blossom and are very important. There are whole other novels going on in the background of this book.There is obviously more to come in this story. Jump on the wagon now, because I think Bates is an author well worth watching.
    more
  • Ben Alderson
    March 23, 2017
    I have so many thoughts..I will put them in a video..gah
  • Montzalee Wittmann
    May 31, 2017
    The Waking Land by Callie Bates is a book I was allowed to read from NetGalley and I am so glad indeed! This book is so rich in fantasy, world building, character depth, plot, and twists that I was totally enthralled in its wonders. Elanna has earth magic, more than anyone knows, in a time that magic is forbidden except in the far north where the land shifts and protects the people, the old ways, and the land itself. Elanna is forced/kidnapped from her family as a young child and is held by the The Waking Land by Callie Bates is a book I was allowed to read from NetGalley and I am so glad indeed! This book is so rich in fantasy, world building, character depth, plot, and twists that I was totally enthralled in its wonders. Elanna has earth magic, more than anyone knows, in a time that magic is forbidden except in the far north where the land shifts and protects the people, the old ways, and the land itself. Elanna is forced/kidnapped from her family as a young child and is held by the King to make her father be submissive to the King. She is raised by the King and told so many lies about her birth land that she believes them. Then, the King is murdered and she is blamed. The daughter of the King is now Queen and has always hated her. Elanna meets a man that also knows magic and knows about hers but he wants her to go to her real father and she believes all the lies. It is so action packed, so many twists, so much magic mixed in there, so much emotion...I am not doing it justice here and only touching on the tip of the iceberg. The Queen's men are after her, the witch hunters are after her...She has the power of the land, earth, and things of the earth. She will need all of these if she can get the land to wake up. It is so exciting to see how and when and with who ....so excellent!!!
    more
  • Nicole
    May 26, 2017
    This book was sooo boring. RTC.
  • Sherwood Smith
    May 5, 2017
    An ambitious debut novel that I inhaled over two days, The Waking Land has a lot going for it: a passionate heroine, complicated politics, lots of magic, and some colorful characters.It was also a rocky read in places, though I wonder how much of the confusing opening is due to the heroine being nineteen years old, which is not an age for emotional logic much less rational logic. In that sense, Bates did a terrifically believable job, though (view spoiler)[ a teen having that much power has got An ambitious debut novel that I inhaled over two days, The Waking Land has a lot going for it: a passionate heroine, complicated politics, lots of magic, and some colorful characters.It was also a rocky read in places, though I wonder how much of the confusing opening is due to the heroine being nineteen years old, which is not an age for emotional logic much less rational logic. In that sense, Bates did a terrifically believable job, though (view spoiler)[ a teen having that much power has got to worry a lot of people, one would think, especially a teen who tends to go off half-cocked without considering repercussions (hide spoiler)].It is written in the currently hip first person present tense, which works during the action sequences, but tended to stand out awkwardly during the history lessons, and the many reflective scenes.Elana Valtai has been a hostage since she was five, and she was taken from her home with a pistol (not a gun, though muskets and pistols are repeatedly called "guns" and there doesn't seem to be any artillery, which was what guns were originally) to her head. She dashes off this way and that, impelled by passions that contradict from moment to moment, even when told facts that she seems to believe, and then to forget.We do not learn why the two kingdoms tragically divided two centuries ago speak completely different languages (one faux Welsh and one faux French), but the grief handed down through the years, the shadows of violence, and the result of failed revolution all resonate through current politics with grim effect.Elana finally gets away from the really evil Princess Loyce and her equally slimy lover Denis, after the king is mysteriously murdered and Elana gets the blame. Even though we suspect from the gitgo who really did the deed, it is regarded even by apparently far-sighted characters as a mystery until the end.Elana has been brainwashed by the ex-king, and bit by bit has to face what she was told and reevaluate, amid action, emotional turmoil, and meeting some cute guys who may or may not be allies.I especially liked Finn, the prince most revolutionaries favor (though not everyone, a step away from "the peasants all think alike" trope of many fantasies, that I thought a plus); the politics are not so simple. Finn was raised to this revolution, and his conversations with Elana about the not-so-hot aspects of being raised for 'great' purposes I thought were among the best points in the book.Treachery abounds, Elana meets her parents again, and discovers that they are human beings, and she is called to action, while dealing with the responsibility of growing powers. It's a fast-paced read, and I think older teens especially will have no problem with the emotion-driven decisions and the vivid action and magical razzle-dazzle. I look forward to seeing what Bates writes next.Copy provided by NetGalley
    more
  • Tanya
    May 3, 2017
    I forgot to mention this with the frenzy of ACOWAR but I got approved for an ARC from netgalley two days ago! So hopefully I'll be reading this one right after I finish ACOWAR.
  • Callie
    February 28, 2017
    I'm still not sure why the author can write their own review...OF COURSE I give my book 5 stars!!! I hope you love it too!
  • Nadia
    December 22, 2016
    What a riveting debut! I love fantasy and this gives it to me on an enchanting plate! Rich with edge of your seat vibrancy.. to find first love entangled with rebellion and repressed magic! It’s a relationship between nature, magic and humankind. First in a trilogy and definitely Young Adult crossover elements
    more
  • Judy Lesley
    May 13, 2017
    I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballantine De Rey. Thank you. When she was five years old Elanna had been kidnapped for political reasons and by the time this story takes place she is nineteen and has come to look upon her kidnapper as a father figure. That was a pretty important idea for the story which wasn't explored as much as I think it should have been. Now Elanna is involved in a political movement again, also against her will - at lea I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballantine De Rey. Thank you. When she was five years old Elanna had been kidnapped for political reasons and by the time this story takes place she is nineteen and has come to look upon her kidnapper as a father figure. That was a pretty important idea for the story which wasn't explored as much as I think it should have been. Now Elanna is involved in a political movement again, also against her will - at least in the beginning. In this fantasy world magic is forbidden and we are reminded multiple times + 10 about the witch hunts to remove magic from the kingdom. Well, guess what....or guess who has magical abilities. Now all she has to do is learn what her powers can do and how to control her use of them.This fantasy world is superficially drawn with very little real depth to any of its elements and Elanna is not someone I want to spend any more time with. The story is written in first person so you get many gems such as "I wake." "I fold my arms. I don't believe it." That writing style is not ever going to be my favorite because I feel I'm missing so much by being trapped inside the head of one character. However, this coming of age novel will definitely appeal to the mid-teen age group I think it was written for. There is lots of talk of kings and princesses and using magical power for the world's good and romance, romance, romance. All presented in a completely fairy tale atmosphere which will be entirely satisfactory to its target audience.
    more
  • Rachel
    February 14, 2017
    THE WAKING LAND is a lovely fantasy novel that deftly merges familiar motifs in innovative ways. Elanna, daughter of the head of the rebel forces, has been raised by the king ever since she was kidnapped at a young age. Now that the king has been poisoned, all eyes turn to her as she tries to piece together what is true and what are lies. Bates portrays Elanna's struggle to find where she belongs very carefully--what could have easily been overdramatic teenage angst is instead a seemingly effort THE WAKING LAND is a lovely fantasy novel that deftly merges familiar motifs in innovative ways. Elanna, daughter of the head of the rebel forces, has been raised by the king ever since she was kidnapped at a young age. Now that the king has been poisoned, all eyes turn to her as she tries to piece together what is true and what are lies. Bates portrays Elanna's struggle to find where she belongs very carefully--what could have easily been overdramatic teenage angst is instead a seemingly effortless examination of the grief of losing everything.I do wish the world building had been a little more developed in the book itself--it was clear the author knew all the intricacies, but I would have liked to read about all the gods, the religious rites, etc. Supposedly there are more coming, which may provide that detail I so desperately craved!
    more
  • Lexi
    March 11, 2017
    Everything about this is different and refreshing. Elanna is a heroine after my own heart. She doesn't want to wed she doesn't want to be someone she isn't. Except she doesn't know who she is because she was taken by the enemy when she was five. Raised to believe they were the right party and taken by her family fourteen years later. This story unfolds the way life does. She struggles to understand who is right, who is wrong. The world isn't black and white and elanna doesn't know which side to Everything about this is different and refreshing. Elanna is a heroine after my own heart. She doesn't want to wed she doesn't want to be someone she isn't. Except she doesn't know who she is because she was taken by the enemy when she was five. Raised to believe they were the right party and taken by her family fourteen years later. This story unfolds the way life does. She struggles to understand who is right, who is wrong. The world isn't black and white and elanna doesn't know which side to choose. The only thing she knows for sure is Jahan is her home. And I seriously cannot get over how adorable they are.
    more
  • Kathleen
    February 24, 2017
    The book starts out with the very young Lady Elanna of Caeris taken hostage by the king of Eren. As a ward in his court she grows up learning the language and culture of Eren. She is close to the king and has no desire to return to her native country; instead she dreams of traveling overseas to study botany. The king’s daughter’s undisguised loathing of her complicates this seemingly happy life as the princess loudly mocks Elanna's “peasant” heritage that lives in the dirt and practices sorcery. The book starts out with the very young Lady Elanna of Caeris taken hostage by the king of Eren. As a ward in his court she grows up learning the language and culture of Eren. She is close to the king and has no desire to return to her native country; instead she dreams of traveling overseas to study botany. The king’s daughter’s undisguised loathing of her complicates this seemingly happy life as the princess loudly mocks Elanna's “peasant” heritage that lives in the dirt and practices sorcery. Since their downfall two hundred years ago, the people of Caeris have been forbidden from practicing magic.Is Elanna a witch? She is able to encourage plants to grow and has produced spectres from drops of blood but her “magic” is unreliable and not anywhere close to the powers of the ancient Caerisian sorceress, Wildegarde. Elanna has kept her abilities hidden from the court, and friends, for the past 14 years. When the king is poisoned, the princess immediately accuses Elanna of murder and witchcraft. She then finds herself in an ill-fated position: stay in Eren to face trial and certain death or escape back to Caeris with strangers willing to help her; back to the father she has grown to distrust and a country she does not remember.The first quarter of the book is dedicated to introducing Elanna to the reader. She is independent and strong-willed with a keen devotion to the people of Eren and their king. To her, Caeris is an enemy country and her father a disgraced traitor. Returning to Caeris is abhorrent to her and she fights against the men who are bringing her back even trying to escape them. Among the group is a young man with gray eyes named Jahan. He saw Elanna produce a spectre, he knows about her power, and he has some secrets of his own.Once in Caeris, Elanna learns many truths; about herself, the murdered king, the country she had forsaken, her family, and her power. This is where the book really enchanted me: Elanna’s magic grows more formidable; it’s ethereal and organic and uses the power of nature as its source. I love the way she can control her surroundings. The author’s writing is at it’s strongest with these scenes. Elanna grows closer to Jahan and I like them as a couple; it’s one of those insta-love relationships but the circumstances make it understandable and the author has added the element of distrust that makes it more complex. I love the mirror scenes.It’s not easy for Elanna in Caeris. The stories she heard about her birthplace as a ward in Eren greatly contradict what she sees. Her father wants to use her power to fight her adopted country, a predicament for her as she feels she is still an Erenian. How can she fight her former countrymen? Jahan has disappeared and she’s not sure who to trust anymore.The author sets this fantasy not in the usual YA medieval-type time frame but during the Romantic Era. The clothing, the weaponry, the transportation, the powdered wigs are indicative of this period setting and I liked the change. It reminded me of Naomi Novik’s novels. Judging from the names of the characters and the countries, it sounds like the author based Eren and its people on the French while Caeris is more Welsh. (please correct me if I’m wrong). There is a fantastic battle that is definitely inspired by Lord of The Rings and Elanna sports some kickass magical powers. But, she really didn't need to constantly remind the reader she is “warden of the land” and that she has “wedded the land.” It got a little old.It’s a strong, engrossing start for this new series and the author ties up pretty much every loose thread by the end of the first book. There are moments of inconsistency involving Elanna and her feelings for her father, confusion as to what country is where (the map does not include the kingdom of Paladis, a major part of the political landscape), and I found myself mentally correcting and rewriting some of the sentences. There are a few reveals along the way and at the end that are surprising but not implausible.I love the story, the magic, the people, and the beautiful book cover (it really is gorgeous and I kept staring at it.) Highly highly recommended and I cannot wait for the next book.
    more
  • Bookish
    April 21, 2017
    As daffodils and cherry trees start to bloom all around, I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to be reading The Waking Land. From its stunning cover to its beautiful imagery to Elanna’s deep connection with nature, this book evokes an awakening similar to coming to life after a long winter. While the novel does seem to follow some typical plot points for fantasy fiction, the uniqueness of the magic (the ability to feel and control the land), the interesting dynamic between father and daughter As daffodils and cherry trees start to bloom all around, I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to be reading The Waking Land. From its stunning cover to its beautiful imagery to Elanna’s deep connection with nature, this book evokes an awakening similar to coming to life after a long winter. While the novel does seem to follow some typical plot points for fantasy fiction, the uniqueness of the magic (the ability to feel and control the land), the interesting dynamic between father and daughter, and the divided loyalties that a long time hostage feels help it transcend the norm. —Susan (https://www.bookish.com/articles/frid...)
    more
  • Karissa
    March 8, 2017
    I got this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This was an absolutely amazing stand alone epic fantasy novel. I was impressed right away with how beautiful the writing was and how well it flowed. I found myself struggling to put this book down each night. The world-building and characters in here are absolutely amazing. I loved Elanna and the amazing characters that surround her. It was intriguing to watch Elanna struggle with both returning to her homeland and her blossoming powers. I got this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This was an absolutely amazing stand alone epic fantasy novel. I was impressed right away with how beautiful the writing was and how well it flowed. I found myself struggling to put this book down each night. The world-building and characters in here are absolutely amazing. I loved Elanna and the amazing characters that surround her. It was intriguing to watch Elanna struggle with both returning to her homeland and her blossoming powers.The story wraps up beautifully as well. I was very impressed by how well this worked as a stand alone book and how much story was in here. In fact I think this is the best book I have read so far this year!My only issue with this book was that throughout the whole thing I kept hoping it was the start to a new series. I want to read so much more about these characters and their world.Overall this was a fantastic epic fantasy novel. The writing is absolutely beautiful, the world-building is impressive, and the characters are amazing. This is hands down the best book I have read so far this year. I would recommend to fantasy fans!
    more
  • Melissa Middleton
    January 22, 2017
    I loved this story despite my initial reservations that this may indeed be #YAfiction. I don't have anything against ya fiction, I just have been trying to avoid it as of late. The narrative is very well paced with terrific character development; which is usually a sore spot for me in fiction particularly. Callie Bates has woven a gripping story within an extraordinary world- the kind of place you wish was real and when you put down the book find yourself having to come back into 'the real world I loved this story despite my initial reservations that this may indeed be #YAfiction. I don't have anything against ya fiction, I just have been trying to avoid it as of late. The narrative is very well paced with terrific character development; which is usually a sore spot for me in fiction particularly. Callie Bates has woven a gripping story within an extraordinary world- the kind of place you wish was real and when you put down the book find yourself having to come back into 'the real world'. I haven't been in the practice of rereading a book for some time now, but this is definitely a novel I see myself revisiting again. Must read-then take a walk in the woods and listen to hear the trees 'sing'.
    more
  • Licia Johnson
    February 24, 2017
    Ms. Bates tells an incredible story in her debut novel. Characters were well developed and I really appreciated their personalities and found myself able to easily relate to them- I could feel the irritation the main character had for some and the strong feelings she had towards others- something that I love in a novel and is rarely accomplished. As a newer reader to the fantasy genre, and an environmental educator, I loved and appreciated the connection of this genre with nature- and the accura Ms. Bates tells an incredible story in her debut novel. Characters were well developed and I really appreciated their personalities and found myself able to easily relate to them- I could feel the irritation the main character had for some and the strong feelings she had towards others- something that I love in a novel and is rarely accomplished. As a newer reader to the fantasy genre, and an environmental educator, I loved and appreciated the connection of this genre with nature- and the accurate descriptions of the forest, plants and other natural elements- and love the fantasy twist on them!! It was inspiring and makes me want to move the earth through my passion as a naturalist. Looking forward to her second book!
    more
  • Vee
    May 25, 2017
    This one sounded so great, with hooks like "if you love Uprooted, this is a book for you!" and the fact it is publishing on my birthday this year, and that cover is lovely, and the first few pages make it clear it is pretty decently written...Here comes that BUT. BUT. I just couldn't finish it. Unfortunately I was annoyed by the third chapter, rolling my eyes by the fifth, and downright angry at the main character for the rest of my read. I stopped at about 40% and skim read to about 86% and the This one sounded so great, with hooks like "if you love Uprooted, this is a book for you!" and the fact it is publishing on my birthday this year, and that cover is lovely, and the first few pages make it clear it is pretty decently written...Here comes that BUT. BUT. I just couldn't finish it. Unfortunately I was annoyed by the third chapter, rolling my eyes by the fifth, and downright angry at the main character for the rest of my read. I stopped at about 40% and skim read to about 86% and then I just didn't care anymore. My main issue: the main character El is unbearable. I cannot stand characters whose conviction wavers, or who contradict themselves on every page, or say things like "I've never cried in front of anyone and I won't start now" when LITERALLY SHE'S BEEN TEARING UP AND CRYING THE WHOLE FREAKING BOOK AND SHE JUST WAS TWO PAGES AGO WITH AN AUDIENCE. Is there any regard for good development anymore? For cohesive storytelling and character reliability? Publishers will just grab up anything and push it out, even if it makes no sense and is full of ANNOYING contradictions? WHY. The earth magic had so much potential, and to be fair the parts I read where El unleashed it made for impressive scenes...though even those were short lived as she'd perform some great bit of magic and then freak out and crumble back into self-pity and half-assed anger at her family. *eye roll*The marketers shamelessly threw around a far superior work like Uprooted to reach an audience, and unfortunately that failed miserably with this reader as I discerned almost immediately I was in a whole other (lesser) ballgame with The Waking Land. I don't rate if I don't finish, but if I had I probably would have knee-jerked to 2 stars. The writing isn't bad, so I've got to give some credit for that.
    more
  • Kimberly Vanderbloom
    June 1, 2017
    I received an early copy from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.I saw this cover and just sat there looking at it stunned. It is absolutely gorgeous and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. Now the description also hooked me as well. I fell in love as soon as I began reading. It is set in a fantasy world that I believe that I would love. I can imagine myself running around the forest of Ereni and being just as happy as a clam. This book was similar to peeling back an onio I received an early copy from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.I saw this cover and just sat there looking at it stunned. It is absolutely gorgeous and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. Now the description also hooked me as well. I fell in love as soon as I began reading. It is set in a fantasy world that I believe that I would love. I can imagine myself running around the forest of Ereni and being just as happy as a clam. This book was similar to peeling back an onion because it was full of layers. Every character that you come across has to experience their journey to the end. Some have longer journeys of self development while others are a little shorter but all of them are interesting. It was well written and I found myself hanging on every word. I had a hard devouring this book because I just wasn't ready for it end. I wanted more and more and more so I found myself limiting my reading time. The story kept a steady pace and really will draw you in.My favorite is Elanna. Of course she is the point of view but her journey was my favorite. She starts as pretty one dimensional as you turn each page she becomes more developed. My favorite part of her journey was after she wed the land. She embraced her role and you could finally see the strong, stubborn, fierce, and caring woman she was. Plus the whole party was pretty intense and animalistic. It was pretty cool.My favorite part was the ending. I thought it was going in a different direction but then it swung around and gave us what we got which I loved. I don't want to give away any spoilers so I'm not going to talk anymore about it. I loved the ending. My second favorite part was everything Jahan. I have a slight crush on him. I found him charming.Overall, I would recommend this book to all of my YA loving friends. In fact I already have. We have our copies pre ordered because a book lover should have this book. I look forward to reading more from this author because I just enjoyed her writing style.
    more
  • Bluerose's Heart
    May 27, 2017
    This book is compared to Uprooted, but I'd put it closer to The Legacy Trilogy by Cayla Kluver(which I had mixed feelings about, in general). I wouldn't actually compare it to Uprooted at all. The Waking Land is *not* a fast paced story. When I first started it, I was in love with it. It was just as beautiful as the cover. I found the nature references appealing, and I was intrigued. That didn't last long, though. I don't know what happened, but by the end, I was forcing myself through it. If no This book is compared to Uprooted, but I'd put it closer to The Legacy Trilogy by Cayla Kluver(which I had mixed feelings about, in general). I wouldn't actually compare it to Uprooted at all. The Waking Land is *not* a fast paced story. When I first started it, I was in love with it. It was just as beautiful as the cover. I found the nature references appealing, and I was intrigued. That didn't last long, though. I don't know what happened, but by the end, I was forcing myself through it. If not for review, I don't think I'd have finished it, nor do I plan to read any future books at this point. It gets really slow by the end, and I didn't even care what happened by then. (I don't even mind slower books, in general, but this one didn't work for me.) Too, just like in the Legacy Trilogy, the main character annoyed me more than not.This book wasn't for me, but it does have enough going for it that it might be the perfect read for you. If you don't mind investing time in a slower moving read and the content doesn't bother you, go ahead and give it a try.Content:There's a sex scene(which I found confusing...the scene, not the fact that it was there), mild profanity, and violence. To me, it's in between YA and Adult.*I got an ARC through Amazon Vine.
    more
  • Lindsey
    March 18, 2017
    This book is an excellent read! If you enjoy fantasy, you will love this book! Elanna is being held captive by her family's rival country, Eren, after her father's plans to overthrow Eren's king are foiled. Elanna is raised with respect and maybe even a little affection from the King of Eren. But the king's daughter hates her and would do anything to get Elanna in trouble. After the king is mysteriously poisoned to death, Elanna realizes that she is being framed for his murder. Her only way to s This book is an excellent read! If you enjoy fantasy, you will love this book! Elanna is being held captive by her family's rival country, Eren, after her father's plans to overthrow Eren's king are foiled. Elanna is raised with respect and maybe even a little affection from the King of Eren. But the king's daughter hates her and would do anything to get Elanna in trouble. After the king is mysteriously poisoned to death, Elanna realizes that she is being framed for his murder. Her only way to survive is to go back to her native country. But how can she go home to a country she barely remembers? Back to the parents who abandoned her? Elanna is torn.Through a fast-paced series of events, Elanna learns that she is not just the daughter of a king, but that she has her own unique power that hasn't been rivaled in over 200 years. In order to find out what those powers are, how she saves everyone, and who she falls in love with, you have to read the book! This is a very unique, refreshing, brilliant story. The tree-hugger in me loved all of the ties to nature!​Thank you NetGalley for my advanced reader copy! I can't wait to read more from Callie Bates!
    more
  • Alison
    May 10, 2017
    Actual rating- 4.5/5A new fantasy series for the older end of YA, The Waking Land is a vivid and engrossing story about the fight for freedom and a united nation. This novel has everything from magic, to romance, and revolution. SO MUCH HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. So much character development and world building- I certainly didn't expect the full extent of it. I felt like I hardly had time to breathe. There were some characters who I felt should have had more page time, but I'm sure we'll see more fr Actual rating- 4.5/5A new fantasy series for the older end of YA, The Waking Land is a vivid and engrossing story about the fight for freedom and a united nation. This novel has everything from magic, to romance, and revolution. SO MUCH HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. So much character development and world building- I certainly didn't expect the full extent of it. I felt like I hardly had time to breathe. There were some characters who I felt should have had more page time, but I'm sure we'll see more from them in the rest of the series. Overall a very strong first book of a new trilogy.
    more
  • Michelle
    May 29, 2017
    I enjoyed this story. I really liked the characters, for the most part. Elanna was a bit annoying at times but the story was so interesting, I could forgive that a little. It was a little slow to start and the ending was a bit rushed, but otherwise a great read.I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
    more
  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    May 17, 2017
    This was a pretty enchanting and unique storyline in the fantasy genre with plenty of action, magic, love as well as an interesting introspective on human behavior. The story is pretty intense with interesting characters she really tried to flesh out as the novel progressed making it one of those books you would want to reread in the future.The pace was a little bit up and down so at times it seemed to drag then suddenly pick up at rollercoaster speed and there wasn’t enough detail in her world This was a pretty enchanting and unique storyline in the fantasy genre with plenty of action, magic, love as well as an interesting introspective on human behavior. The story is pretty intense with interesting characters she really tried to flesh out as the novel progressed making it one of those books you would want to reread in the future.The pace was a little bit up and down so at times it seemed to drag then suddenly pick up at rollercoaster speed and there wasn’t enough detail in her world building as I felt there were still some holes when it came to the religious aspects of her story. The little bit of negative didn’t take away from the fact that ultimately this was a satisfying fantasy adventure with a strong female protagonist.
    more
  • Sam
    May 7, 2017
    suggest to Ivy
  • Kathy D.
    April 4, 2017
    Inventive, with lovely writing. I can definitely see crossover appeal to a teen audience. While there is a brief sex scene, it is no more graphic than many teen novels. Comparisons to Naomi Novik's Uprooted are definitely on the mark. It had a similar feel, with a unique storyline.
    more
  • Brianna
    April 17, 2017
    A rather awkward and weakly-structured fantasy novel, The Waking Land follows Elanna, a rebellious noble’s daughter that is raised somewhat a hostage who returns to her homeland to be the figurehead of a revolution. This book has awkward expository paragraphs and weak descriptions that often make the plot difficult to follow and the worldbuilding very clunky. Elanna as a protagonist is easily swayed by those around her, often making contradictory decisions that don’t match any sort of characteri A rather awkward and weakly-structured fantasy novel, The Waking Land follows Elanna, a rebellious noble’s daughter that is raised somewhat a hostage who returns to her homeland to be the figurehead of a revolution. This book has awkward expository paragraphs and weak descriptions that often make the plot difficult to follow and the worldbuilding very clunky. Elanna as a protagonist is easily swayed by those around her, often making contradictory decisions that don’t match any sort of characterization or logic, really. A challenging book to finish.*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
    more
  • Marzie
    May 26, 2017
    I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.At the outset, let me say that this book has a lot going for it, from its beautiful cover to an interesting magical world, to a heroine that is likable both at the start and at the finish. The first person narrative, however, limits the perspectives we have of this world to the paradigm of a teenage girl and that was a source of plot and character problems for me. Elanna is a teenage hostage, gently held by King Antoine of Ere I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.At the outset, let me say that this book has a lot going for it, from its beautiful cover to an interesting magical world, to a heroine that is likable both at the start and at the finish. The first person narrative, however, limits the perspectives we have of this world to the paradigm of a teenage girl and that was a source of plot and character problems for me. Elanna is a teenage hostage, gently held by King Antoine of Eren since she was age five, as a means to force good behavior on Elanna's rebellious father. Raised outside her native duchy she forgets, as she loses touch with her land, her magical heritage. When the king is murdered, and Elanna falsely accused, she makes a run for it and finds out that the world she had been raised in by King Antoine was one based on lies. She runs to her now foreign-to-her homeland and struggles to adjust. I found this aspect of the book quite promising- her reconnection with her land, her heritage, and with parents who are very different from what she remembered or assumed. It was ripe territory for dramatic development. But the path to fulfill that promise wasn't clear. The inconsistent character development of secondary characters was a frustration (more on that below). As I mentioned, Elanna, the protagonist, is quite likable. She kind, smart, and manages herself well through a series of reversals of fortune and a surprise betrayal (view spoiler)[by her own mother, who, surprisingly, Elanna still loves, tries to understand and doesn't plan to kill or get revenge from. (Kudos on not following a bad parent trope here!) (hide spoiler)]. But this is where the plot muddies for me. None of the secondary characters seem to have problems with these betrayals, perceived or real, and are just willing to take this teenage girl's word that everything is 'cool,' so to speak. There is no caution generated around two important characters when they appear to have done the Caerisian rebels great wrong. Everything is forgiven quickly, easily and multiple times. The plot, which goes from here to there to here to there in terms of action, wasn't smoothly developed. I think a better editorial hand might have been beneficial here. The same is true of the world building. I wanted a better sense of Eren and the Ereni people to understand the plight of the Caerisians. All I got is that they were awful and a pack of liars and murderers, except for Guerin, Hensey and Victoire. I'm not even one hundred percent sure why Paladis was so involved in Eren and Caeris affairs. (I do thank the publisher for the map at the start of the book, by the way. It's a helpful addition.)Beyond the plot and world building, we have the issue of character development. A number of the relationships don't ring true due to lack of development. For instance, Sophy (the girl Elanna's parents basically adopted after Elanna is taken as a hostage by King Antoine) and Elanna have little time to explore their mutual situations. Sophy views Elanna's parents as her own and truly loves them, and Elanna feels what seems to be only fleeting resentment or jealousy over the life this young woman led in what should have been Elanna's place in this duchy. Sophy, who behaves as if she is a person of importance, has her own secrets to keep and we see none of her own resentments of a returned Elanna and what this may mean for her own situation because the book is told from Elanna's first person perspective and Elanna doesn't spend much time analysing Sophy's role as a seeming placeholder for the Duke and Duchess's hostage daughter.(view spoiler)[One of the great missed opportunities of the book was the character of Loyce and her motivations for having her own father murdered. Elanna has lived among the royalty of Eren but doesn't see them accurately and we don't understand much in depth about the relationship between Loyce, Elanna and Antoine. Did Antoine love Elanna more than his own daughter, Loyce? It's implied but we don't have a fully grounded understanding of why that's the case. Obviously, Elanna is a much nicer person and we get that, but why is Loyce so horrible? I would also add that the paper thin quality of character development of Finn also bothered me. He's a "hale fellow, well met" and his father sent him off to recover a throne with a clever sorcerer whose relationship with Finn we still, even at the end, don't fully understand. Here is a character that could have made us feel much more about his abrupt denouement in the story, even if Jahan had revealed to Elanna, upon Finn's passing, the origins of their bonds of attachment. Jahan's failure to protect Finn, after his multiple flips and diversions, is barely dealt with and that failure hangs like a red flag to me because of his ability to throw aside one commitment (Finn) for another (Elanna) so quickly. It's recognized, albeit briefly, but nothing comes of this recognition. Has Jahan learned his lesson? What would this failing mean for Elanna?Likewise, Denis Falconier and even Elanna's father are rendered almost colorless, all bad or good and ineffectual. It was as if all the secondary character development went into the twice-turncoat character of Lord Gilbert, at the expense of some of the other secondary characters. Bates also spent time developing Victoire as the spirit of resistance and that character is left a loose end, after having been one of Elanna's best friends.I also have a lot of thoughts about the way the relationship between Elanna and Jahan was developed. This relationship, for all its seeming fire, was stilted and often almost childish when Elanna would interact directly with Jahan. While I can say kudos to the author for not making this a battle about marriage between these two, it was awkward to have them discussing marriage long before there was any obvious affection and clear emotional attachment beyond the normal sexual attraction between a cute guy and a pretty girl. The relationship didn't feel as "real" as I wanted it to, for a long time. There were enough things to be uncertain about in various characters' motivations in this book, and after the initial revelation that Jahan was sort of playing both sides against the middle, their relationship should have been more clear cut so that we are not left wondering as the various other unclear relationships play out.(hide spoiler)]All in all, this is a first novel and writers learn as they go. The book would have been stronger with a smoother, better-outlined plot and stronger character development. I feel as if the editor and publisher may not have wanted the page count to go above a certain threshold and that development of the plot and characters may have suffered because of it. In any case, this book reminded me of Patty Briggs' first novel, Masques, which she later rewrote and expanded, in its show of promise in the high fantasy genre. Bates similarly is an author who has a lot of promise. I'd definitely pick up her next book to give it a try.
    more
  • Emily
    March 24, 2017
    Although I don't typically read fantasy (I tend to go for historical fiction), Callie Bates' book has opened my eyes to how captivating the fantasy genre can be! As a Naturalist, I absolutely loved the themes and connections to nature throughout the story. I immediately connected with Elanna's character and found her relationship with the natural world unique and interesting. The growth of her character during the story held my attention and kept me wanting more! I was so upset when I had to put Although I don't typically read fantasy (I tend to go for historical fiction), Callie Bates' book has opened my eyes to how captivating the fantasy genre can be! As a Naturalist, I absolutely loved the themes and connections to nature throughout the story. I immediately connected with Elanna's character and found her relationship with the natural world unique and interesting. The growth of her character during the story held my attention and kept me wanting more! I was so upset when I had to put this book down each night. I'm very excited to see more from Callie Bates in the future and can't believe this well written and creative story is her first novel!
    more
  • Elena
    March 16, 2017
    3.5 starsA serviceable fantasy for those itching for a sword and sorcery YA fix, but not destined for my favorites shelf. There were elements that reminded me of Graceling and The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but I didn't find this quite as compelling.Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for providing a review copy.
    more
  • Jessica Weida
    February 1, 2017
    This book had so much potential with a unique storyline but fell short in delivering. I didn't have a connection with any of the characters and the relationship building between the characters was lacking. At points the book moved too slow and then too fast. I would read the next two books to see if this storyline can be developed into something more passionate
    more
Write a review